Visit Pakistan Year 2007: What Can We Do?

Posted on January 11, 2007
Filed Under >Bradistan Calling, About ATP, Economy & Development, Travel
Total Views: 36025


Guest Post by Bradistan Calling

The government has decided to celebrate the year 2007 as ‘Visit Pakistan Year.

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world. It can bring employment, opportunities and recognition. Pakistan is one of the best kept secrets of the tourism industry. Posts on ATP – on our various hidden tourist gems, our history, our culture and heritage, etc. – are examples of all that Pakistan has to offer. Everyone has their own ideas on Pakistan and pakistaniat; but ATP has demonostrated our ‘unity in diversity.’

ATP is the right forum for discussing how we can make “Visit Pakistan 2007″ a success.

What avenues can be explored for participation and promotion of Pakistan. How can we attract tourists to Pakistan in 2007 and beyond? What can institutions like the national flag carrier (PIA) do to become a calling card for Pakistani tourism and hospitality? What role can the media play in this? And what can Pakistanis abroad do?

If those Pakistanis who live abroad decide to take ‘Visit Pakistan 2007′ seriously, others will surely follow.

Bradistan Calling is a proud Pakistani in Bradford, West yorkshire (Little Pakistan).

100 Comments on “Visit Pakistan Year 2007: What Can We Do?”

  1. Ali Choudhury says:
    January 11th, 2007 3:23 pm

    Until crime goes down, the political situation stabilises and PIA improves it’s appalling safety record, I’m not sure much can be done to appeal to the average tourist.

    Having just returned to Bradistan from a trip to Lahore, I’d be comfortable inviting along a foreign friend if they had people around to keep them wise, but I don’t know if it’s suitable for inexperienced foreigners.

    Interestingly enough Nawaz Sharif was pushing a Visit Pakistan 2000 program shortly before he got the push.

  2. The Pakistanian says:
    January 11th, 2007 3:33 pm

    Not too long ago I saw a program on GEO TV which, in my opinion, was the best productionon on GEO to date, “George Ka Pakistan”. I realized how small and minuscule things about Pakistan end up amazing westerners/tourists. Spending a few nights in a village, witnessing a tribal Jirga, visiting the beautiful north, or the ports of Gwadar. There is no doubt a whole lot that needs to be planned by us/our Govt, what and how exactly we want to show the tourists, and of course beautifying those “tourist gems” and lastly we need to hire a well reputed PR firm to promote our agenda. I think it will take way more than a year to have Pakistan appear on the tourism map of the world, to name 07′ as the Visit Pakistan Year is definitely a good start.

  3. Asif A. says:
    January 11th, 2007 4:22 pm

    sounds great but nothing will happen unless things on the ground change… I am not sure Pakistan is as hidden or as much of a ‘gem’ as we think. we have serious problems, solve them, and the tourists will come themselves.

  4. January 11th, 2007 4:28 pm

    check this out:
    and share it with your friends.

    By the way, I think the initiatives like a 7 star hotel like the Centaurus already discussed here a number of occasions is an indication that the government is looking forward to the hospitality and tourism industry. There are also several really mammoth projects started in Lahore and Karachi especially the Port Tower.

    Good thing is that most of the investments in these high end projects are foreign so we don’t have much in stakes to bet on.

  5. Ali Choudhury says:
    January 11th, 2007 4:50 pm

    Projects like those will attract the globalised elite – Pakistani and non-Pakistani – already here but are doubtful to get new, more regular visitors in.

  6. Moeen Bhatti says:
    January 11th, 2007 8:41 pm

    I do not think that it can be a successful project…safety for foreigners is one issue….another issue is why should people come for a vacation to Pakistan? Alcohol is not served in resturants, there are no bars and nothing ‘colorful’ event that could attract foreigners…..If people spend money, they wanna have fun…they’d rather go to India, Thialand or Singapore….I believe only those people visit who have specific hobbies, like mountain climbing…

  7. Shimreen Qudsi says:
    January 11th, 2007 8:43 pm

    For starters you can try to make it safe for foreigners so that ppl like Daniel Pearl don’t get beheaded !!!

  8. Baber says:
    January 11th, 2007 9:32 pm

    Well first of all get rid of hatred for foreigners. Security situation is worse then it has been in past. I was surprised how much Anglina Jolie liked Pakistan, but we cannot provide security like that to everybody. I am pretty sure that there are many celebrities who really want to visit Pakistan and hollywood/bollywood movies can be shot here. Our biggest problems to the tourism industry are the fanatics. Movies are one good way of promoting tourism, because thats how people come to know about the beauty of the country and tourist locations.

  9. Moeen Bhatti says:
    January 11th, 2007 9:33 pm

    I want to mention about another ‘safety’ issue for the tourists in Pakistan. We pakistani, being naturally born tan, tend to hide from natural sun; whereas many people in the rest of the world love to relax in natural sun. There is alot of sun in Pakistan but is there a place where anyone could relax in a swim suit? Maybe on the pool side of some big hotels. I remember when I was in the final year in KE in LHR, we had an international conference and some foreigners also attended that. It was mid-June and you can imagine the heat; and I remember few foriegn women who were though wearing mini skirts, but they were also wearing long thick socks to cover their legs and one could see the misery on the faces in the heat of LHR. I guess they had a pretty good idea that they were in the neighbourhood of Anar Kali & Guwal Mandi.

  10. Kabir says:
    January 12th, 2007 12:06 am

    Dear Friends

    We are a research team from Pakistan currently in New York. We are researching on drinking water issues and the business strategies that affect not only ‘ethical capitalism’ but also our planet. Please help us build a better world and in taking Pakistan forward in the field of research and development by completing the following survey on “Drinking Water Perception”

    This survey is conceived and designed by the Pakistan research team at Pratt Institute in New York to get firsthand information and understand trends, perceptions and awareness of people worldwide and make strategic recommendation for our region of South Asia. The team looks forward to your support and cooperation in reaching its goal of over 10000 surveys.

    Please also help us by forwarding it to your friends. Thank You

  11. January 12th, 2007 12:33 am

    The way India and Malaysia advertize the positive sides of country on channels like NAT Geo,Discovery,CNN etc is amazing. It’s not like those states are paradise on earth and saints live there, it’s all about loyalty towards a state that’s it!.

    [quote post="515"]foreigners so that ppl like Daniel Pearl don’t get beheaded !!![/quote]

    Yes his murder was a cruel attempt but I wonder how much do you know about Daniel Pearl? He was here to write the crappy things about Pakistan and Islam not for PICNIC. I laughed when people felt depressed when Angie didn’t visit Pakistan for the movie “A mighty heart”. They think that movie is all about singing praises of Pakistan.

    I could consider your statment credible if you would have mentioned chinese engineers which are often killed in different parts of Pakistan.

  12. Samdani says:
    January 12th, 2007 12:45 am

    I guess I agree that it is a good idea to try to present a better image of Pakistan and try to attract more tourists to Pakistan. But I also agree with those who point out that first we have to improve the realities on the ground. Today I saw in Dawn that even Gen. Musharraf is worried about law and order deterioration. Then why should you not expect foreigners to be also worried and those advisories being what they are?

  13. JayJay says:
    January 12th, 2007 5:50 am

    [quote post="515"]but I wonder how much do you know about Daniel Pearl? He was here to write the crappy things about Pakistan and Islam not for PICNIC[/quote]

    Some people seem to know everything. I had never guessed that telepathy has developed so much in Pakistan that a fellow commentator was able to read Daniel Pearl’s mind about his writing plans. Nobody in the right mind will risk going to Karachi, leaving behind a pregnant wife, to write “crappy thingsâ€

  14. January 12th, 2007 6:09 am

    Jay, I don’t feel merit to response after your “arabic” knowledge but the way you quoted my statment out of the context forced me to show your ignorance towards the whole thing.

    [quote post="515"]Yes his murder was a cruel attempt but I wonder how much do you know about Daniel Pearl? He was here to write the crappy things about Pakistan and Islam not for PICNIC[/quote]

    You delibrately/cleverly/wickedly omitted that line to put some weight in your baseless rant. As far as I know telepathy or how I know everything and you not. Well my friend don’t curse me for your ignorance while Internet source is free for you and me. Nobody asked you to trust me while GOd has given you enough capability to seek truth. All is required effort which seems like a rocket science for you.

    Have fun.

  15. Rather Agnostic says:
    January 12th, 2007 7:04 am

    Pakistan has tremendous potential for tourism just considering the diversity of terrain that we have (even if we choose to ignore rich culture and archeology). If Dubai having nothing but lifeless desert, mostly extremely hot and humid weather, almost nonexistent indigenous culture and ever expensive hospitality industry can attract so many tourists I think we can do far better.
    What is holding us back is our image portrayed by the world media (not entirely baseless I should say), general lack of good boarding, lodging and transport facilities, and non availability of alcohol outside major cities for tourists.
    I think quoting the incidence of Daniel Pearl is completely out of place here. First he was not a tourist and second he himself was looking for the trouble.

  16. Sohaib says:
    January 12th, 2007 8:19 am

    I know of a foreigner who was here to work with a youth organization I am part of, and her friends sent her off saying “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of your family when you don’t come back” :p Thankfully she loved every minute of her one-year stay in Karachi and now extensively promotes Pakistan in her native Romania. Such are the success stories that can help us.

  17. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 12th, 2007 11:09 am

    I believe Pakistan has a lot to offer to every body but it has to be properly “packed” and marketed. I will not go through the list here since most of us know about the mountains and the rivers and the cities etc. etc. In order to attract tourists we need to offer more than that. First these places have to be developed and readily accessible. Some are, most are not. Then what to do when you get to these places. This is what is called “packaging”. Then a potential tourist has to be educated and enticed at where he himself lives. We do not have any such cultural outposts world wide, where as we should have them. About our people. They also have to be “educated” to be tourist friendly. Western people do not wrap up their person like we do. That is their culture. Our people have to be taught not to gawk and stare at the female tourists particularly our men. A simple smile will win more friends than stare. About the image of the country. Those who have been to Pakistan they love her and will like to go back again. The negative image comes from the media. We do very little to counter that. Our emotional involvement with Middle East politics and fanaticism of some of our folks have made us a target of the Western press particularly with regard to Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Then there is a barrage of some time subtle and often not so subtle anti-Pakistan propaganda from certain neighboring country. There are many odds against Pakistan to develop a sustainable tourist industry. Some are self induced while other are by those who do not like us for one reason or other. But then again the opportunities for us are limitless too. We could do it if we put our collective heads together.

  18. January 12th, 2007 12:42 pm

    “Visit Pakistan Year 2007: What Can We Do?”

    How about painting a truer picture?

  19. Daktar says:
    January 12th, 2007 4:23 pm

    Maybe one way to answer this is by starting from thinking about why WE visit the places we visit. What do we look for there, and then working backwards?

  20. JayJay says:
    January 12th, 2007 7:26 pm

    Adnan, I am still waiting for you to reveal what “crappy things about Pakistan and Islamâ€

  21. Hamza says:
    January 13th, 2007 12:00 am

    I found a travel article written by the Guardian about a trip to Pakistan’s Northern Areas. The writer describes her experience visiting the Kalash tribe. It’s quite good and gave me some hope that our toursim prospects could improve in the future.

  22. January 13th, 2007 2:02 am

    speaking of travel and role of media, I would like to mention an awesome documentary series by actor Rehan Shaikh “Travel Guide of Pakistan”. That series was awesome and it was all due to present different sites of Pakistan in lovely manner.

  23. Eidee Man says:
    January 13th, 2007 2:13 pm

    Hi, good topic. I have been wanting to ask this question for a long time so here goes. Does anyone know of a good book about Pakistan that would be good to give someone who has little to no knowledge about Pakistan? I’m looking for something (to give others) that may be like a travel guide but does not have to be; however, it should be reflective of the REAL Pakistan rather than about the nonsense surrounding Zia/Nawaz/Bhutto or Al Qaeda or similar topics.

  24. Jacek says:
    January 13th, 2007 5:35 pm

    I’m from Poland and I’m going to Pakistan in February. Yes, I’m afraid a little bit (the only new that come to Poland about Pakistan is about terrorism etc…), but I believe that it will the journey of my life. All people who visited your country earlier was very enthusiastic and they just love it, they are more trustworthy than newspapers ;)

  25. Ali says:
    January 13th, 2007 6:47 pm

    [quote comment="27327"]Hi,
    I’m from Poland and I’m going to Pakistan in February. Yes, I’m afraid a little bit (the only new that come to Poland about Pakistan is about terrorism etc…), but I believe that it will the journey of my life. All people who visited your country earlier was very enthusiastic and they just love it, they are more trustworthy than newspapers ;)[/quote]

    haha… thank you. Do u have contacts in pakistan. if not can some of the paki residents on this website get in touch with Jacek and see if they can make Jacek’s trip more memorable?

  26. MQ says:
    January 13th, 2007 8:36 pm


    You should be okay. Just take the normal precautions that a sensible tourist would take in any foreign country. February is a good time to visit Pakistan. It is neither too hot nor too cold. If you happen to be in Islamabad drop in for a cup of tea. ATP has my e-mail address.

  27. MU says:
    January 13th, 2007 9:26 pm

    [quote comment="27372"]Jacek,

    If you happen to be in Islamabad drop in for a cup of tea. ATP has my e-mail address.[/quote]

    I thought you were NY based. My fault for jumping on conclusion.

  28. MQ says:
    January 13th, 2007 9:46 pm


    As I mentioned elsewhere, I live in both places. I returned to Islamabad only a couple of weeks ago and will be here through February.

  29. Jacek says:
    January 14th, 2007 8:20 am

    [quote comment="27372"]If you happen to be in Islamabad drop in for a cup of tea. ATP has my e-mail address.[/quote]

    Thanks for invitation, actually I’m going to visit India before, so I’ll be in Pakistan in the 2nd half of March. But it you still will be in Islamabad I’ll be pleased to meet you ;)

  30. Fareed says:
    January 14th, 2007 5:34 pm

    If you are also going to Peshawar and need any help, please let me know. And don’t worry. Its no more dangerous than any other placce. Do what you will do in any new place. Be careful, be friendly, be yourself. Good luck.

  31. Ali says:
    January 15th, 2007 1:25 am

    Any Pakistani or American (in fact anybody looking to learn about Pakistan) must read the book “Three Cups of Tea” although it talks about a man Greg Mortenson who comes to Pakistan to build schools, it also explores the beauty of Pakistan and why an American would fall in love with a country like Pakistan.

  32. Ali Choudhury says:
    January 15th, 2007 6:08 am

    Eidee Man:

    Emma Duncan’s Breaking The Curfew is probably the best book on the country in terms of understanding it.

  33. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 15th, 2007 9:15 am

    “Hi,I’m from Poland and I’m going to Pakistan in February. Yes, I’m afraid a little bit (the only news that come to Poland about Pakistan is about terrorism etc…), but I believe that it will the journey of my life. All people who visited your country earlier were very enthusiastic and they just love it, they are more trustworthy than newspapers.”

    Jacek: Pakistan is just like any other country in the world. It is neither all good nor all bad. However it is a beautiful country and a wonderful place to visit. You will fall in love with its mountains and valleys; rivers and plains; deserts and sea; and most of all people and places. Upon your return please do tell us about your travels to Pakistan here at ATP. Welcome to Pakistan–The land of the Mighty Indus.

  34. Akif Nizam says:
    January 15th, 2007 2:39 pm

    There is a telling opinion column by Irfan Hussain in Dawn today that pretty much sums it all up.

  35. Jacek says:
    January 16th, 2007 4:47 am

    Hi all,
    Thanks for nice words and thanks for really very interesting articles on this site, I’ll be reading it before and during my trip, I’ll be also taking a lot of photos, so you could see how your country is seen by the foreigner ;)

    Fareed, I want to visit Peshawar too, I’ll try to contact you when I’ll be near, could you send me your email?
    Best regards

  36. Fawad says:
    January 16th, 2007 6:30 am

    I feel that Pakistan is not the sort of country where a foreign tourist (especially a Western tourist) can just land and start moving about – like in Thailand. This is mainly due to hurdles such as language, terrible public transport system, extra precaution needed against un-clean water and food items, conservative culture etc.

    HOWEVER, I see tremendous hope in Pakistan in terms of guided tours: where every single detail of the trip is planned out by the tourism agency (pick drop from airport, hotel, transport, tour guide-very important, meals, evening activities etc.)

    Modern (non-traditional), and innovative businessmen will be required to market and implement these tours effectively. Also, the government needs to stop using catchy phrases and big words; and actually come up with a REALISTIC and SUSTAINABLE tourism strategy. Destination 2007 to me is nothing but a catchy logo, a website (that appears nice at first but is actually TERRIBLE..expected), and a few ministers gloating about nothing.

    By the way, I have mentioned the website example because in today’s globalized world, websites are the key window the world has to view pakistan. Look at tourism websites done by the govt of India or Malaysia and compare with Pakistan and you’ll know what i’m talking about.

  37. younas says:
    January 23rd, 2007 1:18 am
  38. younas says:
    April 10th, 2007 2:24 am
  39. Muhammad says:
    April 10th, 2007 2:32 am

    Do you know we have so many old buildings reflecting our colourful past. And for this State Bank have stated an initiative to beauty I.I.Chundrigar Road and you will see all our old buildings being restored, decorated and enlighten. Visit our site to explore yourself

  40. younas says:
    May 2nd, 2007 12:52 am

    nilofer bakhtiar the minister for tourism has become a mini celebrity in western press abd news channels after the france parachuete jump and Red mosque fatwa.
    as they say even BAD PUBLICITY IS WELCOME.


  41. Anderson says:
    May 6th, 2007 7:21 pm

    well, People outside pakistan generally believe that in pakistan anytime anywhere some person can just appear with dynamite sticks on his belly, push a button and mama miyaaa!!! you got your travel package of an infinite journey. So its pointless to talk about tourism with such an image all over the world plus nobody knows about the places available to visit in pakistan. Government never worked on growing the awareness on what an immense beauty of nature people are missing on. Even most people living in pakistan dont know about the beauty of pakistan. Plus communication structure in the country (which includes means of travel as well) is too lame. Tourist mostly go for places of which they have heard or seen on the media concerning something worthy to visit and safe as well. How can the government even expect that tourism can contribute to the economy with so many barriers. There are a lot of things to look into if they want to promote tourism or any Foreign Directed Investment. Looking into Tourism at this point is like trying to make a broken legged person run without even operating his leg.


  42. younas says:
    May 7th, 2007 5:47 am

    is there is any discussion with western governments namely USA,UK and Europeans to ease the negative travel advisories regarding Pakistan.

    Malaysia celebrating its 50th independence anniversary has already started a vigorous TV campaign for a visit Malaysia year 2007.
    In Pakistan government initiatives, I have learned through previous experiences, are most of the time riddled with red tape of bureaucracy ,half hearted ,half baked and ill conceived (not to mention nilofer bakhtiar saga), but nevertheless it’s a start, keeping our fingers crossed that it will be a success.
    The Visit Pakistan Discussion is about how
    ordinary Pakistanis ,

    and forums like ATP, play a part in defining what is meant by label “ made in Pakistanâ€

  43. younas says:
    May 16th, 2007 7:14 am

    ashamed to say
    “vist karachi year 2007″ and get burnt alive
    Karachi and MQM perfect promotion for visit pakistan 2007

  44. younas says:
    May 29th, 2007 12:39 am

    The controversy refuses to die a natural death, the saga continues, the juicy story of ” nilofer bakhtiar” & the mullah fatwah is all over the world in TV,radio and Newspapers.

    interesting, google “pakistan tourism” for news , amazing what comes up, good publicity in most unlikely of places, what a way to promote a losing battle

  45. younas says:
    May 30th, 2007 2:58 am

    Guest Post: This is Bradistan

    Cam Diary: Nabeel Park, Bradfordistan
    Sir CamHerein was a mighty fusion of cultures: Eastern, Western, English, Pakistani, Indian, African, Arab and others â€

  46. Rob says:
    June 19th, 2007 8:42 am

    Woman minister for tourism facing fatwa resigns, another unwanted minister is dumped into ministry of tourism, tourism is a priority for visit pakistan year 2007,
    what a joke

  47. Rob says:
    June 21st, 2007 8:23 am

    ISLAMABAD,Dawn the pakistani english language newspaper June 20: Former tourism minister Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar has served a legal notice on the head of the ‘Sharia court’ established by Lala Masjid administration, seeking an apology from him for damaging her reputation and political career by issuing a fatwa against her.

    In the notice served on Mufti Mohammad Yunus through Advocates Dr M. Aslam Khaki and Syed Liaquat Banori she said she would initiate civil as well as criminal proceedings against him and ‘the culprits behind him’, if an apology was not tendered within one week.

    The ‘court’ established in the mosque had issued its first decree against Ms Bakhtiar for hugging a Frenchman after paragliding in Paris, saying that Islam did not allow such actions.

  48. MQ says:
    June 21st, 2007 9:58 am


    By any chance, are you the doctor who served at the Qalandarabad Hospital at one time? If yes, then we have met.

  49. Rob says:
    June 22nd, 2007 9:37 am

    Qalanderabad pakistan is missionary hospital in small town in himalayas,
    very sweet memories, the anglican church on the Mall Abbottabad, beautiful gardens and christian cemetary,
    narrow Afgan bazaars with nuts and dry fruits in winter, european cyclists tandem biking on karakorum Highway the silk route to china
    thanks MQ

  50. MQ says:
    June 22nd, 2007 2:03 pm

    But you didn’t answer my question. Are your Dr. Rob, or Dr. Rab to the locals?

  51. Rob says:
    June 23rd, 2007 7:21 am

    yes I was in Qalanderabad 1993-1995 , have we met before MQ if yes when and where I donot remember, do they still religious visas to christian missionaries to work in poor areas of pakistan, i think they stoped after murree & taxila terrorism incidents

  52. MQ says:
    June 23rd, 2007 9:27 am

    Yes, Rob, I guess, we have met once at a common friend’s house in a village named Ghazi Kote. I am afraid I am not familiar with the government’s visa policy for missionaries. I am currently in New York. If you wish to share your memories of Qalandarabad and the area you may obtain my e-mail address from ATP.

  53. Rob says:
    June 24th, 2007 8:43 am

    Sorry MQ I donot recall Ghazi Kote , is it one of those villages on the far side of abbottabad mountain called maloot or bakoot i hope i am spelling correctly

  54. MQ says:
    June 24th, 2007 10:15 am

    No, it’s a village 3 miles short of Mansehra, on the right hand side of the road. Maybe, we haven’t met. I was thinking of Dr. Rob who wore a short beard and native dress and spoke the local language almost like a native.

  55. Rob says:
    June 25th, 2007 9:09 am

    I worked with British guy Dr JOHN Barrington, born in peshawar he spoke poshto like native speakers, now lives in wellington New zealand

  56. Owais Mughal says:
    June 25th, 2007 4:04 pm

    Islamabad has suspended its much publicised ‘Visit Pakistan Year (VPY) 2007′ project, reportedly due to lack of funds. Details here.

  57. MQ says:
    June 25th, 2007 4:42 pm

    The houses and businesses in Islamabad being spied by swarms of madrassa students for any “immoral activities” and the “culprits” — both nationals and foreigners — being kidnapped to the Lal Masjid for meting out justice; the government leaders, both at the federal and provincial level, encouraging, condoning and even threatening suicide attacks against “blasphemers”; the Northern Areas under the lengthening shadow of the Taliban; and Karachi floating in its own sewage. Who would want to visit Pakistan in 2007 for leisure and recreation?

  58. July 12th, 2007 12:13 pm

    Did any one see Mobilink Advertisement on CNN international
    or may be posted on you tube, about pakistan tourism destination
    in this environment of hostility would anyone take the advertisement seriously

  59. July 13th, 2007 3:53 pm

    Visit pakistan Mobilink CNN

  60. July 15th, 2007 7:08 pm

    Guardian UK (newspaper) features Pakistan travel & tourism on its website(one of the most visited newspaper sites in the world)

  61. Rob says:
    July 21st, 2007 9:18 am

    Dear MQ
    I think ” Qalander Abad” means saint’s abode, referes to small town north of Abbottabad, Saint thomas came to india to preach gospel

  62. MQ says:
    July 21st, 2007 1:52 pm


    [quote] I think

  63. Rob says:
    July 23rd, 2007 9:09 am


  64. Rob says:
    July 24th, 2007 8:07 am
  65. Rob says:
    July 25th, 2007 8:29 am

    interesting you mentioned Taxila, I served there as well with Sister Angela, they have a very good eye hospital ,it used to be missionary, I miss pakistan, wish i could go

  66. Taariq m. Hassan says:
    July 26th, 2007 2:45 am

    Pakistan has a host of attractions to interest many foreigners,but since 9/11 my own family forbid me, an overseas Pakistani to travel alone to see places such as Uchch Sharif and Derawar Fort because they say it just isn’t safe.There are nutters who are deeply suspicious of anyone coming overland from Amritsar!!

    Pakistan does not look after its Islamic relics and just neglects its Pre Islamic past and the non Muslim places and monuments that are of the most interest to a foreign tourist.
    I myself prefer to backpack around India.It is safer , even more diverse, more FUN and is geared towards visitors.
    Moreover until Masala Dosa replaces oily kabab and naan, things remain grim for Pakistan in the tourism dept.

  67. Rob says:
    July 31st, 2007 11:40 am

    missionaries, NGOs,private citizens, my space,youtube and blogs can promote tourism to fight poverty,foreigners(like myself) would stand out like sore thumb in swat and chitral even kaghan under MMA theocracy, may be pakistanis are treated better by locals, but the poverty in chitral swat kaghan is major issue, especially small children begging for 5 10 rupees, books,pencils, all this was in 1992 , i donot know whats the situation now

  68. August 4th, 2007 3:18 pm

    Saira Khan’s Pakistan Adventure
    please watch the show

  69. MANJIT DHANOI says:
    August 11th, 2007 2:11 pm
  70. August 12th, 2007 6:33 pm
  71. mark says:
    August 13th, 2007 11:07 am
  72. mark says:
    August 17th, 2007 12:58 pm
  73. August 21st, 2007 5:44 pm

    national geographic channel’s Place of the week

  74. Qadoos says:
    August 22nd, 2007 11:42 am
  75. August 29th, 2007 1:20 pm

    The government had announced some program where citizens of 27 countries would not need a visa to visit Pakistan. Does anyone know what happened to that program? I know it was approved, but did it ever get implemented?

    Send Gifts to Pakistan | Send Flowers and Cakes to Pakistan | Eid Gifts to Pakistan

  76. September 2nd, 2007 2:05 pm


    DUMPED OR……..

  77. September 3rd, 2007 7:57 am

    Nilofer parachute jump, CJ protests, lal masjid siege, waziristan and swat, Visit Pakistan 2007 was a failure from start

  78. September 6th, 2008 9:27 am
  79. bradistan says:
    October 18th, 2008 9:34 am
  80. December 22nd, 2008 10:30 am

    Balti-ChickenTourism to Pakistani Restaurants

  81. bradistan says:
    April 17th, 2009 11:06 am
  82. June 11th, 2009 8:01 am

    Exclusive Video
    “Another Pakistan”

  83. July 11th, 2009 7:30 am

    Polo and Taliban. Guardian Feature on Tourism in Pakistan

  84. bradistan says:
    July 13th, 2009 8:46 am
  85. Gerry says:
    September 26th, 2009 1:24 pm


    For many years, I have been planning a trip to Islamabad where I have friends – through the family I know – and then to Beijing to see friends.
    Thanks for your helpful observations and weblinks . As you say, one needs to relate to ones audience, knowing where they’re at.

    Peace and love to all Pakistanis.


  86. September 29th, 2009 8:51 am

    brother Gerry
    I am sure you will have a lovely time in Pakistan.Stay safe and take the local advice of your hosts about where to go and what to do.Lahore, Karachi and Isalamabad should be Ok.

    Pakistanis are among the best hosts in the world.
    Bon-Voyage have a safe journey.

  87. October 13th, 2009 9:04 am

    1960s tourism Hippie Trail relauched for Pakistan.

  88. November 26th, 2009 7:52 am

    One of Mohsin Hamid’s friends (Dr. A.A) sent me this link. I wish Mohsin and his family all the best in Lahore Pakistan.

  89. December 2nd, 2009 7:39 am

    Reading Michael Palin in Peshawar,read his Himalaya journeys.

  90. January 5th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Tourism in the time of terrorism?
    Daily Telegraph UK ‘Bicycle Diaries’ in Pakistan

  91. Brenda Booker says:
    May 5th, 2010 1:12 am

    I have a question about being a tourist. I am engaged to a wonderful man from Pakistan and I intend to come and meet his mother. We are mature, older people and have already gone through the engagement process although we went to Dubai for that. As an American, I am aware of the potential for dangerous activity and I also know that there must be certain rules and mannerisms to be on guard about. When I ask him what those ways to behave are he simply says to just stay with him. I am a Christian and he is a Muslim. I have dark blue eyes and blonde hair. I am used to being friendly and talking to both men and women but I know I should not touch or talk to the men although my Urdu is VERY limited right now! Please tell me if there is anything else that I can do to keep a low profile and not disrespect anyone. I want to make a good impression on his mother too. I have told him that I will cover if he wants me too. Thank You for your help! I think from all the pictures I have seen, Pakistan is beautiful. I look forward to this journey.

    Also, someone asked about a good book…I would suggest “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” It intermingles Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  92. Watan Aziz says:
    May 5th, 2010 4:30 am

    @Brenda Booker,

    If you are engaged to a “wonderful man from Pakistan”, then you are already not a tourist, but visiting home, his home.

    Grab a copy of “Guess who is coming to dinner tonight” and “Meet the parents”. Although both of these are male centric, and I cannot recall any female centric movies, the over arching theme is clear, be natural and not be out of place.

    BTW, it is not talking with men or women for that matter, it is talking with strangers that is an issue. And that generally, is true when you are a stranger to the place yourself, anywhere. It gets a little more compounded in tradition bound societies like Pakistan.

    From what you have posted, it appears you already know what to do, and making an effort to do it right, so good luck and relax and enjoy the journey.

  93. Brenda Booker says:
    May 5th, 2010 10:22 pm

    Thank you so much for your reply. I am not even nervous about going there because I believe that our relationship is all in God’s most capable hands. I’ve been blessed to find a man with such integrity and kindness and wish only to bring love and support to his family.

  94. Watan Aziz says:
    May 6th, 2010 4:25 am

    Sounds like a plan.

    If you will permit, I may offer an advice, is to practice patience. Humans by nature are impetus and patience is an acquired trait. Since you have put things in God’s most capable hands, then certainly God practices patience.


  95. Brenda Booker says:
    May 7th, 2010 12:00 am

    Bahut, bahut, shukriya! ( See? I’m learning,lol!) I am very thankful and am glad for the advice! Allah Hafiz, my friend. Fayyaz and I thank you.


  96. May 7th, 2010 9:58 am

    May I add one piece of advice, get a good guide (Lonely Planet or similar ) on Pakistan.
    But remember you are visiting a His family, its an honour and duty to look after,pamper and protect guests, in ordinary Pakistani families.

  97. Meengla says:
    May 7th, 2010 11:37 am

    My American wife went to Karachi with me December 2005. She loved the balmy winter sun and the quiet beaches of Hawkes Bay and Sandspit. I tried to shield–perhaps over-protect her–by always insisting on putting a ‘dopatta’ on her. But that was because of physical safety reasons–and not some religion-inspired reasons. Karachi is the equivalent of NYCity of Pakistan: Liberal and dynamic.
    Anyway, she was offered pasteries by the management of the Pearl Continental hotel because she was, according to him, ‘an honored guest of Pakistan’. She was let in to pet a female elephant even after the Karachi Zoo was closed. And the door to the then-closed World Wildlife Federation gallery/museum at Sandspit were especially opened for her because she was an ‘honored guest’.
    We could barely stay 2 weeks in Pakistan. Such are the constraints of careers. But we loved it very much once the jet-lag was over.
    PS. Not to scare you but the militants have done a lot of damage to Pakistan since 2007. Our visit was in 2005 when things were much better. So be careful but do not worry about any average Pakistani trying to harass you. My wife remains a Southern Baptist and she was accepted as one of the ‘People of the Book’.

  98. Ex-Muslim says:
    May 7th, 2010 3:58 pm

    BTW did you also have to convert to SB coz Southern Baptists here are like the Taliban of Pakistan. Correct me but I think grand dragon Pat Robertson himself is also a SB.

  99. Meengla says:
    May 7th, 2010 4:13 pm

    No, I didn’t have to convert to anything nor I ever asked my wife to ‘follow’ anything. I am sure the myriads of Baptist relatives around me have secretly talked about me and my spiritual background, perhaps often in disapproving terms. But they are too civilized to start preaching to me. They would be DELIGHTED if I were to convert but that ain’t happening.
    As to Pat Robertson and the likes of J. Falwell: I always thought of them as fake Christians. True Christians would never support wars and glorify capitalist greed and jingoistic ‘patriotism’. Jesus’ message was of love and humility and he was for the poor. It is a different matter that many of the followers of these so-called Baptist preachers are only a couple of notches less fanatics than the Talibans. Give them a chance and you will see.

  100. August 3rd, 2010 1:29 pm

    Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, with high regard for traditional Islamic values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system because of the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system.[99] Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, and Peshawar that wish to move in a more centrist direction, as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalization has resulted in ranking 46th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[100]

    The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such as the late Alam Lohar, who is also well known in Indian Punjab. However, majority of Pakistanis listen to Indian music produced by Bollywood and other Indian film industries. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persian music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution centre for Afghan music abroad.[101] State-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and films are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private Television Networks, cable, and satellite television. There are also small indigenous film industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). And while Bollywood films have been banned from being played in public cinemas since 1965 they have remained popular in popular culture[102].

    View of Food Street in LahoreThe architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to four distinct periods — pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium[103] B.C., an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day.[104] Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of Buddhism and the Persian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province. The arrival of Islam in today’s Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture.[105] However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture occurred. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. In the British colonial period, predominantly functional buildings of the Indo-European representative style developed from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern structures like the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.

    A Kalash man dances during the Uchau Festival.The literature of Pakistan covers the literatures of languages spread throughout the country, namely Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi as well as English[106] in recent times and in the past often Persian as well. Prior to the 19th century, the literature mainly consisted of lyric poetry and religious, mystical and popular materials. During the colonial age the native literary figures, under the influence of the western literature of realism, took up increasingly different topics and telling forms. Today, short stories enjoy a special popularity.[107] The national poet of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, suggested the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. However, Iqbal had also wrote the Tarana-e-Hind which stated the belief of a strong united India. His book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a major work of modern Islamic philosophy. The most well-known representative of the contemporary Urdu literature of Pakistan is Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sufi poetry Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah and Khawaja Farid are also very popular in Pakistan.[108] Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose

    By safeer hussain on Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

    What do we mean by Pakistan?
    by the late safeer
    I quote myself: in the Februrary 1947 number of Arafat (p. 166): “The Pakistan movement… can become the starting-point of a new Islamic development if the Muslims realize – and continue realizing it when Pakistan is achieved – that the real, historic justification of this movement does not consist in our dressing or talking or salaaming differently from the other inhabitants of the country, or in the grievances which we may have against other communities, or even in the desire to provide more economic opportunities and more elbowroom for people who – by sheer force of habit – call themselves ‘Muslims’: But that such a justification is to be found only in the Muslims’ desire to establish a truly Islamic polity: in other words, to translate the tenets of Islam into terms of practical life.’

    This, in short, is my conception of Pakistan: and I do not think that I am far wrong in assuming that it is the conception of many other Muslims as well. Of many: but not all; and not even of most of them. For, by far the larger part of our intelligentsia do not seem to consider Pakistan in this light. To them, it means no more and no less than a way to freeing the Muslims of India from Hindu domination, and the establishment of a political structured in which the Muslim community would find its ‘place in the sun’ in the economic sense.

    Islam comes into the picture only in so far as it happens to be the religion of the people concerned – just as Catholicism came into the picture in the Irish struggle for independence because it happened to be the religion of most Irishmen. To put it bluntly, many o four brother and sisters do not seem to care for the spiritual, Islamic objectives of Pakistan, and permit themselves to be carried away by sentiments not far removed from nationalism.; and this is especially true of many Muslims educated on western lines. They are unable to think otherwise than in western patterns of though, and so they do not believe in their hearts that the world’s social and political problems are capable of being subordinated to purely religious considerations. Hence, their approach to Islam is governed by convention rather than ideology, and amounts, at best, to a faintly ‘cultural’ interest in their community’s historical traditions.

    Now this is a very poor view of Pakistan: a view, moreover, which does not do justice to the Islamic enthusiasm at present so markedly – if chaotically – displayed by the overwhelming masses of our common people. While many of our so-called intelligentsia are interested in Islam only in so far as it fits into their struggle for political self-determination, the common people most obviously desire self-determination for the sake of Islam as such.

    As far as the Muslim masses are concerned, the Pakistan movement is rooted in their instinctive feeling that they are an ideological community and have as such every right to an autonomous political existence. In other words, they feel and know that their communal existence is not – as with other communities – based on racial affinities or on the consciousness of cultural traditions held in common, but only – exclusively – on the fact of their common adherence to the ideology of Islam: and that, therefore, they must justify their communal existence by erecting a socio-political structure in which that ideology -the Shariah -would become the visible expression of their nationhood.

    This, and not a solution of the all-India problem of Muslim minorities, is the real, historic purpose of the Pakistan movement. Insofar as there will always remain non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan as well as Muslim minorities in the rest of India, Pakistan cannot be said to solve the minorities problem in its entirety.

    But this is precisely a point which we – and our opponents – would do well to understand: the problem of minorities, however important in all considerations of India’s political future, is, in itself, not fundamentally responsible for the Pakistan movement, but is rather an incidental accompaniment to the movement’s intrinsic objective – the establishment of an Islamic polity in which our ideology could come to practical fruition. Only thus can we understand why the Muslims in, say, Bombay or Madras – who of course cannot expect that their provinces would become part of Pakistan, are as much interested in its realization as are the Muslims of the Punjab or of Bengal.

    They are interested in Pakistan not because they hope to come within its orbit in a territorial sense, but because they feel, as intensely as their brethren in the so-called ‘Muslim majority’ provinces, that the birth of an Islamic polity in Pakistan would vindicate the claim that Islam is a practical proposition, and that the Muslims – because of their being Muslims – are a nation unto themselves, irrespective of their geographical location.

    For, in this respect, the Pakistan movement is truly unique among all the political mass movements now evident anywhere in the Muslim world. No doubt, in the vast territories that go by this name there are many other lovers of Islam besides us, but nowhere in the modern world, except in the Pakistan movement, has a whole Muslim nation set out on the march towards Islam. Some of those states, like Turkey and (the then Shah’s) Iran, are explicitly anti-Islamic in their governmental aims, and openly declare that Islam should be eliminated from politics and from the people’s social life. But even those Muslim states in which religion is still being valued – in varying degrees – as a spiritual treasure, are ‘Islamic’ only insofar as Islam is the religion professed by the majority of their inhabitants: while their political aims are not really governed by Islamic considerations but, rather, by what the rulers or ruling classes conceive as ‘national’ interests in exactly the sense in which national interests are conceived in the West.

    In the Pakistan movement, on the other hand, there undoubtedly exists such a direct connection between the people’s attachment to Islam and their political aims. Rather, more than that: the practical success of this movement is exclusively due to our people’s passionate, if as yet inarticulate, desire to have a state in which the forms and objectives of government would be determined by the ideological imperatives of Islam – a state, that is, in which Islam would not be just a religious and cultural ‘label’ of the people concerned, but the very goal and purpose of state-formation.

    And it goes without saying that an achievement of such an Islamic state – the first in the modern world – would revolutionize Muslim political thought everywhere, and would probably inspire other Muslim peoples to strive towards similar ends; and so it might become a prelude to an Islamic reorientation in many parts of the world.

    Thus, the Pakistan movement contains a great promise for an Islamic revival: and it offers almost the only hope of such a revival in a world that is rapidly slipping away from the ideals of Islam. But the hope is justified only so long as our leaders, and the masses with them, keep the true objective of Pakistan in view, and do not yield to the temptation to regard their movement as just another of the many ‘national’ movements so fashionable in the present-day Muslim world.

    There is an acute danger of the Pakistan movement being deflected form its ideological course by laying too much stress on a ‘cultural’ nationalism – on a community of interests arising not so much from a common ideology as from the desire to preserve certain cultural traits, social habits and customs and, last but not the least, to safeguard the economic development of a group of people who happen to be ‘Muslims’ only by virtue of their birth. Nobody can doubt that the cultural traditions and the immediate economic requirements of the Muslim community are extremely important in our planning the Muslim fixture on Islamic lines. But this is just the point: they should never be viewed independently of our ideological goal – the building of our fixture on Islamic lines.

    It appears, however, that the majority of our intelligentsia are about to commit just this mistake. When they talk of Pakistan, they often convey the impression that the ‘actual’ interests of the Muslim world could be viewed independently of what is described as the ‘purely ideological’ interests of Islam; in other words, that it is possible to be a good Pakistani without being primarily interested in Islam as the basic reality in one’s own and in the community’s life.

    [However], such an arbitrary division between ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islamic’ interests is sheer nonsense. Islam is not just one among several characteristics of Muslim communal existence, but its only historical cause and justification: and to consider Muslim interests as something apart from Islam is like considering a living being as something apart from the fact of its life.

    It should [therefore] be our leaders’ duty to tell their followers that they must become better Muslims today in order to be worthy of Pakistan tomorrow: instead of which they merely assure us that we shall become better Muslims ‘as soon as Pakistan is achieved’.

    This easy assurance will not do. It is self-deceptive in the extreme. If we do not sow the seeds of Islamic life now, when our enthusiasm is at its fighting pitch, there is no earthly reason to expect that we will suddenly be transformed into better Muslims when the struggle is over and our political autonomy secured.

    I can almost hear some of our leaders say: ‘Brother, you are too pessimistic – or perhaps a little bit too apprehensive. Almost every one of us desires a truly Islamic life. Only, it would be impolitic to insist on this ideal right now. In our ranks there are many people who render the most valuable services to our political cause, but – owing to a wring upbringing – do not care too much for religion; and if we stress the religious side of our struggle from the very beginning, those valuable workers might cool down in their zeal, and so be lost to our cause. We do not want to lose them: we cannot afford to lose them: and so we are obliged to postpone our work for the people’s religious uplift until after we have won a state of our own. At present, we must concentrate all our energies on the short-term objective before us – the freeing of the Muslims from non-Muslim domination – and not dissipate them on purely religious considerations. If we insist, at this stage, too loudly on our long-term objective – the deepening of Islamic consciousness in the Muslims and the creation of a truly Islamic polity – we might not only estrange many of our westernized brothers and sisters from our cause, but also increase the apprehensions of the non-Muslim minorities who live in the area of Pakistan.’

    The above reasoning is extremely fallacious and intellectually dishonest.

    As for the apprehensions which our insistence on an Islamic life might cause among the non-Muslim minorities, I should like you to ask yourselves: What is it that makes non-Muslims so bitterly antagonistic to the idea of Pakistan? Obviously, a fear of what they describe as a ‘communal raj’ and the probability of the Muslim-dominated areas being cut off from the rest of India. The question as to whether the Muslims truly intend to live according to the principles of Islam or not leaves the non-Muslims cold. They are afraid of Muslim political preponderance in certain areas, and it does not make prima facie the least difference to them whether the Muslims are inspired in their endeavors by Islamic or any other considerations. Hence, they will oppose Muslim endeavors in any case, and with all strength at their disposal.

    With all this, the attitude of our opponents might – though I do not say that it definitely will – be to some extent influenced by the thought that what we Muslims really aim at is justice for all: provided that we succeed in convincing them that we are really moved by moral convictions and not by a wish to exploit non-Muslims for the benefit of Muslims. It is, therefore, our duty to prove to the whole world that we really mean to live up the standard laid down in these words of the Holy Qur’an: ‘You are the best of community that has been sent forth unto mankind: for you enjoin the Right and forbid the Wrong, and have faith in God’ (Al-I-’Imran 3:110).

    Our being a worthy ummah in the sight of God depends on our being prepared to struggle, always and under all circumstances, for the upholding of justice and the abolition of injustice and this should preclude the possibility of a truly Islamic community being unjust to non-Muslims. I can well imagine that a non-Muslim feels apprehensive about his fixture in a state which, in his opinion, would aim at giving economic preference to the Muslim community at the expense of non-Muslims: but he will have less reason to feel such an apprehension if he becomes convinced that the Muslims are determined to ensure justice to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. And we cannot convince our opponents of our bona fides unless we prove, firstly, that an Islamic polity connotes justice for all, and secondly, that we Muslims are really serious in our avowals that precisely such polity is our goal – in other words, that we truly believe in the tenets of our religion. It is, therefore, quite erroneous to assume that the fears of non-Muslim minorities could be allayed by our discreetly avoiding, as much a s possible, any direct references to our ultimate, religious objectives. This only creates in them a suspicion of hypocrisy on our part. The real way to allaying or at least alleviating their fears would be our clear exposition, in as great detail as possible, of the ethical ideals towards which we are striving; but even such an exposition will be of no avail unless we are able to show, in our day-to-day life, that those ideals mean more to us than mere slogans.

    Apart from its probable effect on non-Muslims, an evasive postponement of our ‘long-term’, Islamic objectives in favor of what some people regard (quite wrongly) as momentarily ‘expedient’ or ‘politic’, must have a detrimental effect on our community’s moral tenor; and can only result in our greater estrangement from the ways of true Islam. Instead of becoming increasingly aware of the ideal goal before them, the Muslims will again become accustomed to think – as they did for many centuries – in terms of ‘expediency’ and immediate conveniences, and the Islamic objective of Pakistan will most definitely recede into the realm of theoretical idealism – in exactly the same manner as the true objectives of Christianity have receded among the so-called Christian nations of the West.

    We do not want that. We want, through Pakistan, to make Islam a reality in our lives. We want Pakistan in order that every one of us should be able to live a truly Islamic life in the widest sense of the word. And it is admittedly impossible for an individual to live in accordance with the scheme propounded by God’s Apostle unless the whole society consciously conforms to it and makes the Law of Islam the law of the land. But this kind of Pakistan will never materialize unless we postulate the Law of Islam not merely as an ideal for a vaguely defined future but as the basis, wherever possible, of all our social and personal behavior at this very hour and minute.

    There is [on the other hand] a definite, though perhaps involuntary, tendency on the part of many of our leaders to ignore the spiritual, Islamic background of our struggle and to justify the Muslims’ demand for freedom by stressing their unfortunate experiences with the Hindu majority, as well as to base the Muslims’ claim to being a separate nation on the differences between their and the Hindus’ social usage and cultural expressions.

    In short, there is a mounting inclination to consider the fact – for a fact it is – of a separate Muslim nationhood in the conventional, western sense of the word ‘nation’ instead of considering it in the Islamic sense of ummah or millah? Why should we hesitate to proclaim, loudly and without fear, that our being a nation has nothing to do with the conventional meaning of this word: that we are a nation not merely because our habits, customs and cultural expressions are different from those of the other groups inhabiting the country, but because we mean to shape our life in accordance with a particular ideal of our own?

    It cannot be often enough repeated that our adherence to the teachings of Islam is the only justification of our communal existence. We are not a racial entity. We are – in spite of the great progress of Urdu as the language of Muslim India – not even a linguistic entity within the strict meaning of this term. We are not, and never can be, a nation in the sense in which the English or the Arabs or the Chinese are nations. But precisely the fact that we are not, and never can be, a nation in the exclusive, conventional sense of the word is the innermost source of our strength: for it makes us realize that we – we alone in the modern world, – can, if we but want it, bring again to life that glorious vision which arose over the sands of Arabian nearly fourteen centuries ago: the vision of an ummah of free men and women bound together not by the accidental bonds of race and birth, but by their free, conscious allegiance to a common ideal.

    If our desire for Pakistan is an outcome of our creative strength and purity; if we attain to that clarity of vision which encompasses the goal of our endeavors long before it is achieved; if we learn to love that goal for its own sake – in the conviction that it is supremely good in an absolute sense (or, as I would prefer to phrase it, in God’s sight), and not merely because it appears to be economically advantageous to ourselves and our community, then no power on earth could stop Pakistan from being born and from becoming a gateway to an Islamic revival the world over.

    And if, on the other hand, our cry for self-determination is due to no more than a fear of being dominated by a non-Muslim majority; if our vision of the fixture is merely negative; if it does not encompass the hope of our being free for something, but contents itself with the beggarly hope of our being free from something; if Islam, instead of being a moral obligation and an end in itself, means no more to us than a habit and a cultural label: then – even then – we might achieve some sort of Pakistan by virtue of our numerical strength in this country; but it would be an achievement far short of the tremendous possibilities which God seems to be offering to us.

    It would be only one ‘national state’ more in a world split up into numberless national states – perhaps no worse than some of the others, but certainly no better than most: while the subconscious dream of the Muslim masses, and the conscious dream of those who first spoke of Pakistan (long before even this name had been thought of) was the birth of a polity in which the Prophet’s Message could fully come into its own as a practical proposition.

    [What] the common man desires is not merely a state in which Muslims would have greater economic facilities than they have now, but a state in which God’s Word would reign supreme. Not that the ‘common man’ does not care for economic facilities. He cares, rightly, very much for them. But he feels, no less rightly, that an Islamic theocracy would not only give him all the economic justice and opportunity for material development which he now so sadly lacks, but would enhance his human dignity and spiritual security as well. (Most Muslim scholars have tried to differentiate between the Islamic concept of a state based on the principle of Khilafah or vicegerency and European medieval religious states based on rule by holy and ‘infallible’ clergy).

    To give valid Islamic content, as well as a creative, positive direction to the people’s dreams and desires; to prepare them not only politically (in the conventional context of this word) but also spiritually and ideologically for the great goal of Pakistan: this is the supreme task awaiting our leaders. They must not think that to organize the masses and to give voice to our political demands is all that he millah expects them to do. Organization is, no doubt, urgently necessary; political agitation is necessary, but these necessities must be made to serve our ideological goal – and not, as we so often find in these days, allowed to reduce it to secondary rank.

    To a Muslim who takes Islam seriously, every political endeavor must, in the last resort, derive its sanction from religion, just as religion can never remain aloof from politics for the simple reason that Islam, being concerned not only with our spiritual development but with the manner of our physical, social and economic existence as well, is a ‘political’ creed in the deepest, morally most compelling sense of this term. In other words, the Islamic, religious aspect of our fight for Pakistan must be made predominant in all the appeals which Muslim leaders make to the Muslim masses. If this demand is neglected, our struggle cannot possibly fulfill its historic mission.

    The need for the ideological, Islamic leadership on the part of our leaders is the paramount need of the day. That some of them – though by far not all – are really aware of their great responsibility in this respect is evident, for example, from the splendid convocation address which Liaquat Ali Khan, the Quaid-e-Azam’s principal lieutenant [later first prime minister of Pakistan], delivered at Aligarh a few months ago. In that address he vividly stressed the fact that our movement derives its ultimate inspiration from the Holy Qur’an, and that, therefore, the Islamic state at which we are aiming should derive its authority from the Shari’ah alone. Muhammad Ali Jinnah [d. 1948] himself has spoken in a similar vein on many occasions. Such pronouncements, coming as they do from the highest levels of Muslim League leadership, go a long way to clarifying the League’s aims.

    Never before have Muslim leaders been endowed with such power to guide the destinies of the millah in the right direction – or in the wrong. It is within their power to decide, here and now, whether the Indian Muslims shall becomes Muslims in the true sense of the word and, thus, the core and backbone of a resurgent Islam – or just another ‘national group’ among many other so-called Muslim groups and states where Islam is good enough to be displayed as a cultural label, but not good enough to provide the basis on which to build the community’s social, economic and political existence. The present leaders of the Muslim League, I repeat it deliberately, have it within their power to make such a decision: for the wave of enthusiasm for Pakistan which has swept over the Muslim masses in this country, and which has united them as they have never been united in the past, has endowed those leaders with a prestige – and a power to lead – the like of which was never enjoyed by the leaders in the past centuries.

    Because of this, their moral responsibility is all the greater. In short, it is the foremost duty of our political leaders to impress upon the masses that the objective of Pakistan is the establishment of a truly Islamic polity; and that this objective can never be attained unless every fighter of Pakistan – man or woman, great or small – honestly tries to come closer to Islam at every hour and every minute of his or her life: that, in a word, only a good Muslim can be a good Pakistani.

    And this holds goo-d for the leaders themselves as well. They must show in their social behavior that they regard Islam as a serious proposition and not merely as a slogan. To put it plainly ‘that they themselves are trying to live up to the demands of Islam. I do not mean to say that all of them are remiss in this respect. There are among them many people to whom Islam is a living inspiration, and to these our homage is due. But, on the other hand, very many of our leaders have Islam only on their lips – and that only when they address a public meeting or make a statement to the press – while their personal behavior and outlook is as devoid of Islam as the behavior and outlook of the average political leader in Europe or America is devoid of Christianity. This must change if our struggle for Pakistan is not to degenerate into a pitiful copy of the ‘nationalist’ endeavors from which the rest of the Muslim world is suffering.

    As I have already said the Muslim masses instinctively realize the Islamic purport of Pakistan, and genuinely desire a state of affairs in which la ilaha ill’Allah would become the starting point of the community’s development. But they are inarticulate and confused in their thoughts. They cannot find their way unaided. They must be led. And so, again, we come back to the question of leadership and of its duties.

    It seems to me that the supreme test of the present-day Muslim leadership will be its ability – or inability – to lead the community not only in the purely political and economic but also in the moral sphere: the ability – or inability – to convince the Muslims that ‘God does not change the condition of a people unless they change their inner selves’ (Ar-Ra’d 13:11), which means no more and no less than that a community’s political and economic status cannot be lastingly improved unless the community as a whole grows in moral stature.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)